FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column 3 Questions. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Lawrence Calcano of iCapital Network – the financial technology platform democratizing alternative investments with complete tech-based solutions for wealth advisors and asset managers. iCapital services more than $6 billion in invested capital across more than 14,000 underlying accounts.
NAME: Lawrence Calcano
TITLE: Chief Executive Officer
COMPANY: iCapital Network
WEB ADDRESS: www.icapitalnetwork.com
How did you personally become involved in fintech?
I’ve been working in the financial technology space for almost all of my career in a number of different roles and forms. I have always believed in the power of technology and growth-oriented companies to drive important changes in the financial services industry, and I’ve worked with thousands of companies in the space. I was a partner at Goldman Sachs for many years, where I led the Global Technology Investment Banking Group, and since then, I’ve continued to engage with companies in the space as an advisor, investor or operating executive.
It’s incredibly challenging and enjoyable as a professional to work in the fintech sector which is constantly evolving to create new opportunities, and working with a team like iCapital’s that is emotionally invested in the mission and client success adds to the excitement
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
iCapital Network opens up access to alternative investments such as private equity and hedge funds to financial advisors and the high-net-worth clientele they serve. Historically, these types of private investments have been considered out of reach to all but the largest institutional investors, like pension funds and endowments, despite the fact that alternatives have the potential to mitigate risk, diversify holdings and increase returns in investor portfolios – which are common investment objectives for even smaller, individual investors.
To level the playing field, iCapital sources, reviews and selects high-quality alternative investment managers and curates a menu of investment options for investors, and our technology simplifies the unique and cumbersome subscription, administration and reporting processes of these investments. We automate and streamline the entire process within a secure, digital platform for retail investors and advisors. In short, we’ve democratized the alternative investing experience
How do you feel consumers and businesses are adapting to the facet of fintech that your company operates within?
We’ve found that demand for alternative investments from the high-net-worth community is strong and continues to grow. As market and economic trends shift, more and more investors and their financial advisors recognize the importance of private markets exposure in a diversified portfolio. In the last two decades, the number of public companies has dropped by more than half, leading many investors to look toward the private capital markets for expanded investment opportunities. iCapital’s technology is helping facilitate those opportunities.
iCapital’s range of tech-enabled services are used variously by advisory practices, banks, brokerages and asset managers to expand or augment their in-house alternative investment capabilities and strengthen their operational processes – ultimately increasing transparency, improving efficiency and enhancing the investor experience. In addition to the work we do with advisors and investors, many of the largest and most respected firms within the financial services industry – including BlackRock, J.P. Morgan, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity and Credit Suisse – have adopted iCapital’s enterprise-grade technology as a means to improve client service and enhance their alternative investing infrastructures.
We’ve experienced rapid growth during our first three full years in business, which has confirmed a clear need within the industry for a solution to the challenges of accessing and investing in alternatives. Today iCapital has attracted more than 1,700 entities to our investor network and our platform services more than $6 billion in invested capital across more than 14,000 investor accounts. We’ve also launched several dozen white label platforms for our enterprise partners.
Looking forward, we expect the sector to grow and evolve with client needs and it will be crucial to help new investors understand how these asset types are different than what they may be familiar with. As a firm, we’ve made a significant commitment to delivering educational materials and resources that will help advisors and their clients be better informed about the mechanics, characteristics and potential benefits of alternatives – with a goal of helping people develop a more complete investment toolkit and continuing to advance the industry.
Lawrence Calcano is Chief Executive Officer of iCapital Network, where he leads the firm’s key strategic and business development initiatives. He was previously a partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he spent 17 years, most recently serving as the co-head of the Global Technology Banking Group of the Investment Banking Division.